Your health is arguably one of the most important things. Without good health, you wouldn’t be able to live the life that you want to lead. Staying healthy, however, can also wreak havoc on your bank account. Lots of people think that having to buy healthy foods, versus takeout, or buying memberships to bougie yoga or fitness studios is the only way that you are going to be and get healthy. That’s simply not the only way you can invest in your health and here at GoDay, we want to share with you some budget friendly ways you can get your health in check.
You don’t need us to tell you that meal planning is one of the simplest ways to not only save money, but also invest in your health. When we’re ordering take out or eating out for every meal, we’re often consuming more food than we normally would, unhealthier food, and we have no idea what’s really going into the food you’re consuming. Not to mention we’re spending a fortune on food, when you could be spending significantly less at a grocery store.
Meal planning can be a challenging habit to form when you are used to eating out all the time, but once you get in the hang of it, you’ll see your savings go up, and your health increase. To get started, we’ve created some steps for you to follow:
Draw a two column template that leaves room for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for every day of the week on the left, and a grocery list on the right.
Fill in any meals that have already been accounted for such as birthday dinner that you’re eating out for, or a lunch meeting at work.
Take stock of what’s in your fridge and pantry and fill in as many meals that can be made from the ingredients you already have. If you have leftovers from the previous week, include those as meals too.
You may also have some ingredients that you can’t make a full meal out of, that’s okay. Add them to your list and add on your grocery list the new items you’ll need to make it a complete meal. For example, you already have burgers but are missing the toppings and buns.
Lastly, to fill in any blank spots for meals, add in any all-new meals if you need to. Need inspiration? Check out Pinterest for some super easy recipes. This can also be a good spot for finding inspiration for meals to make with ingredients you already have too.
Quick tips for meal planning:
To get you started, here are some tips to consider when building out your meal plan to achieve success:
- Pack your lunch the night before. This way if you aren’t a morning person or if you are running late, there’s no excuse
- Switch up your lunch and dinner so you don’t get sick of eating the same thing for every meal and most importantly, aren’t tempted to order in instead
- Prepare your fav recipes over and over to help you stick to your plan. If you know your family (or yourself) likes them, then you don’t have to worry about being creative or trying something new
- Have snacks that are healthy, like nuts or cheese, so if you get hungry you are eating your prepped snacks versus purchasing
- Stock your pantry, fridge and freezer with long-lasting, nutrient-dense items like rice, pasta, beans, canned goods, sauces, soups, frozen veggies, etc. These staples can easily be incorporated into many recipes
- Make things simple by using themes. Crockpot Wednesday, Taco Tuesday, you get the point. This can also make it fun for the family
- Order groceries online. No more excuses that you don’t have time to go to the grocery store. In this day and age you can order right online threw places like Instacart
- Double recipes when possible so you can eat the leftovers, pack them for lunch, or freeze them for quick and easy meals on busy nights
Some tips to save on meal prep:
- Cook less meat and loud up on vegetarian proteins that cost less like beans and eggs
- Appreciate a full rotisserie chicken. These can go a long way and make so many different meals in one. Sandwiches, soups, tacos, etc.
- Dry beans versus canned can be cheaper and healthier as they contain less sodium
- Use your slow cooker – these can make almost anything taste good (even cheap cuts of meat)
- Buy in bulk and freeze where you can
- Make big batches to freeze for later
- Buy frozen fruits and veggies so they last longer and you eliminate food waste
- Buy produce that is in season, and freeze it for later when the prices go up
- Sign-up for store points and discount cards where you shop
- Buy spices, baking supplies, etc. in bulk so you only purchase what you need (you can also bring your own containers to refill to eliminate waste)
- Make your own sauces, dressings and seasonings, they’ll be healthier and cheaper
- If you have an outdoor space, grow your own veggies and herbs
- Repurpose food scraps where you can (like in soup)
- Store your produce right to ensure it lasts. Here are some great tips
- Here are additional tips to help you cut your grocery bill in half
Working out is a key component to making you feel good and keeping your body healthy. However, gym memberships can be pricey, and if you like niche fitness classes like yoga, pilates, or boxing, those memberships can cost upwards of $150+ a month. This adds up quick and makes exercise unattainable for a lot of people.
What we forget about is everything that is available out there to allow us to workout on a dime. Here are some ideas to help get you moving and your heart healthy:
In the age of social media, there are so many free workouts available right at the click of your finger (or mouse). YouTube, for example, offers tons of different workouts that you can scroll endlessly and never do the same workout twice. We put together this list awhile back that you may find a great resource for where to start.
If high intensity circuit training is your thing, with or without extra equipment. If you need basic equipment like weights or resistance bands, these can be purchased cheap on Amazon and in the long run can still be cheaper than a gym membership.
We have to start right out of the gate with fellow Canadians at BodyRock.TV®. Boasting almost 1 million YouTube subscribers, the crew at BodyRock.TV® create new HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts every single day. They have their own site you can visit as well, where they share lifestyle advice and nutritional help. They feature hundreds of videos to date, ranging from short to really, really long. If you’re a beginner to interval training, no worries – they have great “entry level” videos to get you started. One of our favourite things about this channel is their uplifting community. Fitness is hard & you’re more likely to succeed with a supportive team behind you, cheering you at any stage of your journey.
If simple, no nonsense, no fluff workouts are what you’re looking for, Fitness Blender is the channel for you. You’ll find a range of beginner, intermediate and advanced bodyweight-based and equipment-based workouts. Target one area or work your entire body with hundreds of videos to choose from. They also have some yoga, Pilates and stretching workouts available, too!
A smaller channel, but one that is as fierce as BodyRock.TV®…and there’s a reason for that. Channel-founder Zuzana Light co-founded Bodyrock.TV® and has since moved onto her own endeavors in California. She has slightly less videos, but they are equally as challenging and often don’t include any extra materials at all.
Yoga & Pilates
If having a dancers body & strength is more your objective. Yoga and pilates can be a fantastic workout. Here are some of our favourite channels:
Based in Austin, TX, Adriene Mishler manages an enormous channel filled with yoga sessions, individual pose instruction and challenges. This yogi also includes other yoga poses to help you increase your performance in other sports!
Founder of Strala, a “movement based” type of yoga, Tara Stiles offers over 500 different yoga and health-based videos on her channel, ranging from weight loss yoga, yoga while traveling and diet tips.
Blog-turned YouTube Pilates guru Cassey Ho has almost 300 Pilates videos to date, ranging from very beginner to advanced. If you enjoy super fun upbeat music during your workouts, then you’ll love Cassey’s channel. Most of her workouts are done on a mat, so Pilates reformer users might need to find another channel. However, Cassey does have a handful of resistance-band workouts that might fit your taste.
Dance & other
Maybe throwing yourself a dance party is more your kind of workout or something we didn’t list above. Here are some places that may be a good place to start:
If you love hip-hop Zumba routines, we haven’t found a channel better suited than CLUB FITz. With a modest 200k subscribers, the lovely ladies at CLUB FITz release new routines that pump it out to current chart-topping hits.
Want access to popular workout systems from Jillian Michaels, Billy Blanks & others? Subscribe to the BeFiT channel that boasts hundreds and hundreds of full workout videos in every exercise category imaginable.
If you are a student, there is a chance the gyms or studios in your area may offer a discount when you show your student card. This can help you stay in shape and have access to places you wouldn’t normally be able to afford on your student budget.
Fitness instructors are using Instagram more and more to build their brand, and lots of them do live stream workouts or post daily workouts that you can do yourself at home for free. Some of our favourite accounts to follow are:
This is one of the cheapest ways you can workout. Get outside and go for a run, walk or hike. Not only will you be getting much needed fresh air, but you’ll also be staying active and fit. Challenge yourself to get out for a walk every day and get in those 10,000 steps!
Look at different options available to you. Maybe you can’t afford to belong to that $150/month yoga studio, however, one of the studios in your area offers free community classes, or your favourite instructor offers free yoga classes in the park near you.
Take a look at other gym options too. The YMCA may be more in your budget and do the trick!
Last but not least, many studios offer new client discounts. Hop around and try different studios while reaping the rewards of their new client memberships and trials for cheaper.
Get enough sleep
If you’re looking for one of the most budget-friendly ways to keep healthy, all you have to do is get some sleep in. Yep, you heard us correctly. Sleep is one of the most valuable things you can do for your body and health because your body needs that time to recover and rejuvenate. You should be aiming for 7-8 hours a night, and you want to be getting quality sleep, aka you’re not tossing and turning all night long. Some tips to help you get a good amount of sleep are:
- Try to slowly adjust your bedtime to earlier and earlier
- Stay in your routine even on the weekends
- Avoid blue light, aka what’s coming off all the screens in your house, at least 60 minutes before you go to bed. Blue light triggers your brain to stay awake
- Make sure your room is dark, with no distractions or noises, if that’s impossible, use a sleep mask and/or ear plugs
- Set the temperature right, this contributes to a good sleep. 20 degrees celsius is the optimal sleeping temperature
- Take a hot shower or bath before bed, the heat will make you sleepy
- 30-40 minutes before bedtime, do something relaxing like reading or meditating
What are some of the inexpensive ways you invest in your health? Share with us!